Lucy Thatcher Bright Family

The Jack McDonald ’45 Service Award was presented to the late Lucy Bright Thatcher '41, who passed away in 2011. From left to right: Austin Center '85, president of the Bright School Alumni Association; Fletcher Bright '43; Joe Thatcher '33, who accepted the award on his wife's behalf, and Lizzer Bright Graham '71.

Franklin McCallie Family

The Fletcher Bright '43 Distinguished Alumni Alumnus Award was presented to Franklin McCallie '52. From left to right: Head of School O.J. Morgan, Martha Carriger, Bill Carriger '52, Franklin McCallie '52, Tresa McCallie, Sara McCallie, Spencer McCallie '49 and Jack McCallie '69.

Bright School alumni Lucy Bright Thatcher and Franklin McCallie were honored Thursday for their lifelong contributions to the school, education and the community.

The Bright School Alumni Association presented awards to Thatcher and McCallie at the school’s Founder’s Day luncheon at the Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain. A group of fourth graders began the program with the singing of “Country Gardens” and “The Bright School Song.”

Thatcher, who graduated from Bright School in 1941 and died in 2011, was given the Jack McDonald ’45 Service Award posthumously, and her husband, Joe Thatcher ’33, received the award for her. This award is given to alumni who have contributed significantly to the welfare of Bright School and exemplified the highest standards of the school through selfless devotion to the interests of the school. The late Gordon P. Street Jr. ’50 was given the award in 2014.

Thatcher, the niece of Bright School founder Mary Gardner Bright, worked as an assistant to her aunt at the school in the early 1950s after graduating from Girls Preparatory School and Rollins College. She also worked for the Chattanooga Times in the society section and was the first woman to be elected to the Lookout Mountain Tennessee Town Commission. Thatcher remained committed to the school Miss Bright founded in 1913, serving as a lifelong donor and trustee for many years. She was a member of the search committee that led to the hiring of current Head of School O.J. Morgan. 

“In looking at alumni who have served the school in the past in various ways, the association saw Lucy’s involvement as important in continuing the vision of her Aunt Mamie and the valuable role of the school in education,” Morgan said. 

McCallie, who graduated from Bright in 1952, received the Fletcher Bright ’43 Distinguished Alumnus Award, which is given to alumni who have exhibited brilliant and distinguished lifelong work in a significant field of endeavor or service. The late Mai Bell Hurley ’40 received this award in 2014.

McCallie, an educator in Chattanooga and St. Louis for more than 40 years, has used his community standing to promote improvement in race relations, interracial dialogue and the rights of all citizens and students. In 2014, the Alton Park Development Corporation awarded McCallie the John P. Franklin Humanitarian Award for his stand against segregation in the 1960s and 70s and for the integration of black and white citizens in Chattanooga since he and his wife, Tresa, returned in 2012. The McCallies have received national acclaim for bringing together more than 500 black and white citizens to their home for interracial conversations to break down barriers and build honest friendships.

During his 22 years as principal of Kirkwood High School in St. Louis County, McCallie was named the Administrator of the Year by both the Missouri and the National Journalism Education Associations for taking very public and sometimes unpopular stands so that his students could accept the challenge of “freedom of the student press.” In 2000, the Kirkwood Area Chamber of Commerce conferred on McCallie its Lifetime Achievement Award. He was further honored by another alma mater, McCallie School, in 1998 with its Alumni Achievement Award.

“Not only have you distinguished yourself in the world of education, as your years as a school head demonstrate, but you have brought a profound vision of unity and reconciliation to our community,” Morgan said. “Your work corresponds beautifully to the school’s mission. We seek to educate “wise and compassionate citizens of the world,” and in the programs we offer and the experiences we provide our students, we hope to grow the same awareness and desire to bring reconciliation to life as you do. I see it as education of the most profound kind.”

The following are McCallie's remarks at Founder's Day:

"Members of the Alumni Association of Bright School: I am greatly honored by this award. I am doubly honored to have my name associated with Chattanooga legend Fletcher Bright. I told him so this summer when OJ Morgan notified me. Fletcher, I can't play or sing, or do many of the terrific things you do for this school and for Chattanooga, but I appreciate you, and I can try to be a worthy recipient for Bright School and for my fellow graduates.  
On a September day in 1946, I clutched at my mother’s hand, cried big tears, and tried to go home, despite the urgings of Ms. Organ and my own cousin and classmate Gladys McCallie on my first day of kindergarten. By May of 1952, I was the last graduate to leave the building, shedding much bigger tears and hating to leave the wonderful cocoon that Bright School had become for me. Bright School was a “bright” spot in my life. Always was; always will be. I am one who remembers, despite the fact that O.J. and Development Officer Kim Brown do not think my donations have lived up to the quality of my memories, much to my chagrin. But I have not forgotten the wonderful experiences I had at “Bright’s,” as we used to call our little school—and those experiences were both social and academic. 
Of course, in the 1950s, academics came first at Bright School, but knowing that you younger guys are very socially inclined and probably enjoyed huge dances, I must tell you that our biggest social event for the class of ’52 was always the yearly possum hunt at the Patten’s Ashland Farm. It was a nitty-gritty, back woods experience. I was lost in the wilderness for two days during our fourth grade possum hunt. My parents thought I had stayed over, and the Pattens thought I had gone home. OK, maybe it was about a half hour I didn’t know where I was. And suddenly, one of the Patten adults had my hand, leading me back to the big feast. And the hilarious stories of those evenings would last until the next year’s possum hunt.

Back at school, I was aware as early as kindergarten that various classmates gave us insights into our own strengths and weaknesses—especially our weaknesses. For instance, our class learned that when Marjorie Caine moved up to the front desk in the "turn down" game, we might as well begin again, because no one was going to move Marjorie from that front desk, not even the brainy Anne Gayle Novell or the enlightened Bill Carriger, another of my cousins in that class.

On the other hand, on the playground, I was the fastest in the class in a straight line race. But in a game of tag, no one could touch Jerry Crouch and Charlie Howell as they zigged and zagged, back and forth on those infernal playground pebbles and shells—which all the old folks will remember from Ft. Wood Place.
On the upper playground stood a long line of swinging rings on long chains. The boys could not understand why most of the girls were better at moving back and forth on those rings without touching feet to the ground. It was the scene of many damaged male egos. I tried my best to outdo Peggy Johnson, but to no avail.
The height of all physical education for the boys was playing football on the University of Chattanooga’s revered Chamberlain Field, in full pads, playing like we were the real thing—tackle and all—for the glory of the Green and White! We never knew how anyone got Miss Bright to let us do that. But she came to every game and even acted like she enjoyed them!
Back in the music classroom, I always, always wanted a lead singing part, but try-outs were tough; Ms. Shelton and Ms. McKenzie had a terrible habit of always, always selecting the best voices—hurt my heart.
Where I really excelled was in Ms. Harris’s classroom as a Greek and Roman gods scholar. Later, as an English major and teacher, I found great value in calling up old friends—Jupiter, Athena, Vulcan, Persephone—and rattling off the gods’ virtues and vices. During that fourth grade year, we called certain classmates by the names which fit them best: Mercury, the speedster was Jerry Crouch; Venus was….you don’t think I’m going to let that out here, do you?
In reading instruction in Miss Lynde’s first grade class, I started off in the red birds—then worked my way up. When I reached a higher level, I was excited—Miss Bright was teaching that group. I needed that inside track, because on days that I had to report to Miss Bright’s office to explain my twenty-first playground fight with Sebert Brewer, she at least knew that I was a good reader. Still, I always recruited Miss Lucy to go with me. Never hurt having Miss Bright’s niece in my corner.
In sixth grade, I hoped I had in my corner my Aunt Ellen, “Miss McCallie” to everyone else. Alas, I got no special privileges; however, I did get to hear our Headmistress and my Aunt Ellen more times than other classmates as these scholarly women described their summer trips around the world and the spectacular things they witnessed, such as the "Bayeux Tapestry" in Normandy. Every student benefitted though from the knowledge shared  from those trips. When my wife, Tresa, and I went to France 50 years later, I exclaimed: “So THIS is the Bayeux Tapestry.” Tresa immediately asked: “How did you know, and I didn’t?” And I—terribly arrogant—replied: “Well, did you have Aunt Ellen as your sixth grade teacher?” Of course, today when Tresa doesn’t know something—anything—she forgives her lack of knowledge because she did not have Aunt Ellen McCallie in sixth grade.
The week Ms. Lauderdale let me rewrite my version of  “The Tortoise and the Hare,” while choosing the cast and directing the play in front of our class, was the week I truly laid the foundation for my career in educational administration. Of course, it’s in my genes, along with brother Spencer and Cousin Jim McCallie who are with me today, but by fulfilling that leadership experience in my third grade classroom, I knew I could do it. 
In September, 1950, I arrived at the door of probably the most beloved teacher at Bright’s for many years, and she said immediately: “Franklin, I had the privilege of teaching your father in 1919.” It was dear Miss Kate—Miss Kate Thomas, fifth grade. Great teacher; lots of homework.
And to close my memories, the biggest event of the year for all sixth grade classes: the Christmas play. Our class echoed all other classes; we wanted to perform Dickens: “A Christmas Carol,” with Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit, or at least “Amal and the Night Visitors.” Both had real, live characters. But this was the year Miss Bright and my Aunt Ellen wanted the sixth grade to do the “Story of Christmas,” with little puppet people and puppet animals on strings. Oh my gosh: we would manipulate behind the scenery—unseen; no chance for a taste of glory. But, realizing our passion and our frustration, for this one time, Miss McCallie let us take a vote. Dickens won the day with our classmates by 100%! It was our first real lesson in power politics….It certainly was…. Miss McCallie then said: “I want Miss Bright to come speak with you.” “No, not Miss Bright! Not this time! We’ve taken a vote!” Miss Bright slowly climbed the stairs to our third floor classroom; we could hear her coming. Then, she spoke with us. She talked about trying something different; she talked about how our class could step out and do something for the cause; she said we should “do it for the gipper.” No, that’s a different story. She talked, and we wept over her words. Oh, did we weep!………I was the camel puppeteer.
The years at Bright…..almost all good. The negatives for me were very few. The teachers were excellent; the program strong, my classmates fun….usually…and the Patten twins and several others are still my friends today.
Tresa and I took a tour of the new school the other day with OJ and my young cousin, Gladys’ daughter, Elizabeth Davis, herself a graduate. What a building! What a faculty! What a program! How wonderful the students! Miss Bright and her colleagues would be so proud!
Bright School, I salute you."